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Noemi Vineyards - Napa Valley


95 Points - Wine Insiders, 92 Points - Beverage Tasting Institute

The story behind this emerging winery is not at all novel these days, yet it begs for exposure in today’s highly competitive California wine industry. It involves a hard working migrant worker from Mexico who came to California and found his virtual pot of gold.

Eleodoro Hernandez was only seventeen when he left his family in Mexico’s Michoacan State to travel north to California’s Napa Valley where he was told he could find work. It was 1976 and Northern California was in the throes of a gigantic wine bubble that was to last for the next two and a half decades. Eleodoro quickly took to his new work, first at the recently opened Flora Springs Estate and later for a series of Napa growers including Tony Patella and Joe Greco. As the years passed, ‘Ele,’ as he had become known, became considered as an expert grower in Napa Valley. He was a person who had mastered the difficult process of terraced vineyards, an incredibly important aspect of Napa Valley farming.

Just after the turn of the century, Ele Hernandez realized a lifelong dream of going into business for himself when he completed leases on several high quality parcels of land along Big Ranch Road in Napa Valley. Today, these parcels total 39 acres and have all been hand planted by Ele himself. It came as no surprise to observers that these vineyards proved to be superior regarding the fruit produced. The likes of venerated Camus Vineyards and Stags’ Leap Winery quickly became customers along with many others. It was another Mexican success story that reached fruition through hard work and years of toil and learning.

“My Dad always had a green thumb,” remarked Daniel Hernandez, 28. “He did well wherever he worked and people came to respect his judgment and decisions. He consulted for a number of people and established himself as one of the top growers in all of Napa Valley.” In 2006, Ele Hernandez took another giant step and began the process of making his own wines. He called upon his old friend, Rolando Herrera (of Mi Sueño Winery fame and Michoacan heritage) to help with the first release of less than 100 cases. When the wine sold out in a short time, the new winery was on its way to prominence.

“Dad named the winery after my Mother, Noemi,” Daniel Hernandez continued. “She was the inspiration for everything he did, and the glue that held our family so close together.” A few years ago, Noemi Vineyards purchased a small ten-acre piece of land in Napa Valley’s southern end, not far from the famed Carneros growing region. If things continue to go well for the fledgling winery, the site will become the home of a new winery (with possibly a cave included). It will also bring the addition of Chardonnay grapes to the existing Cabernet Sauvignon. At this point, Noemi’s Vineyards’ wines are all made at Mi Sueño under the watchful eye of both Ele Hernández and Rolando Herrera.

“The partnership of my Dad and Rolando was something that was made in heaven,” continued Daniel Hernandez. “My Dad’s green thumb and Rolando’s golden hand have made some really special wines. The old adage that you must have great grapes to make a great wine is absolutely true, and no one can grow Cabernet like my Dad.”

Production for Noemi’s Vineyards has steadily risen and will rest around 940 cases this year, a level that Daniel Hernandez finds appealing. “We want to remain relatively small and be able to do everything for ourselves,” he added. “Every aspect of our wines comes under close scrutiny and that’s what makes them comparable to the really great wines of Napa Valley.” Daniel Hernandez is also a practicing attorney, but handles the marketing chores for Noemi Vineyards.

“I have come to love the wine business and will be a part of it as long as possible,” he finalized.

Judging by the marvelous public acceptance and remarkable high scores Noemi’s Vineyards have received in its relatively short lifespan, Daniel Hernandez will have a good job for well past the foreseeable future. The fact that he and his parents have become part of the American Dream is just another chapter in the ongoing saga of California wine history. The number of highly praised wineries with Mexican descent has increased over the past decade and will continue to grow. It all seems like that is the way it should be.


  1. Noemi
    2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Noemi
    Carneros growing region
    Napa Valley

    $54.00

    $60.00
    95 - Wine Insiders
    id: 1010
    Special
    Platinum

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